Intertwined with vines and trees, the underground world was inlaid with different mechanical gears and metal parts. The entire place was in dead silence, as if time was frozen; weak flames of oil lamps gently swayed in the air.
“Gurrrrr——” Vines staggered along a corner. There was a bat-like beast named Valencia, kneeling down on the ground and drinking water. Then, it took out a gourd made of leaves to draw some water.
The noise had drawn its attention.
“Again? It’s getting more and more frequent these days…”
Valencia hung the gourd on its waist, spread the wing membranes and glided towards a rusty yet giant gear ahead. Scouting around, it saw a group of five, including elves, beasts and a Machina, was walking slowly. They all looked delirious.
“The number is more than expected this time. I better call Bahamut...No, I can’t increase its burden anymore.”
Valencia’s wings were covered with purple thunderlight. It went into a dive with lightning speed. As soon as they saw Valencia, they gave a roar of rage and attacked. Valencia defended with its giant wings, blocking all the strikes with hard scales.
Sprinting right into the middle of the group, Valencia spinned its solid body like a top, knocking all of them flying. Taken such a great hit, they were down and faint.
“Phew...Now just tie them up and bring to Bahamut.” Valencia plucked a vine to tie the group together. Then, it spread the wings and ascended to the sky, heading towards a towering tree in the central region.
Valencia flew around the trunk to a huge cave piled up with mechanical parts and gears. Bahamut the giant dragon was resting inside. Just as it landed on a branch, a low voice echoed through the cave.
“What’s happening, Valencia?” Bahamut looked tired, lying on a soft leather with an indolent posture.
“More elves, beasts are coming out from the inside again. This time there is even a Machina. But good news is, they’re all taken down. You just need to make them calm.”
“Thank you. Please put them on the ground.” Bahamut got up; its bulky size occupied the entire space of the cave. Valencia placed the faint elves, beasts and Machina on the floor one by one. Their faces looked ferocious and they were short of breath, as if having a terrible nightmare.
Bahamut contracted its pupils while heaving a sigh. “Poor kids, all I can do is to slightly soothe your pain.”
Bahamut came over and breathed out. Sparks started landing on their bodies. With the burning of those little incandescent particles, their faces became calm; breath was more stable than before, as if falling into a deep sleep. On the contrary, Bahamut showed a painful look.
Feeling nervous, Valencia flew to a rock nearby and hung upside down from its feet. It flapped its wings continuously, hopefully which could make Bahamut feel better. “Don’t push yourself too hard...Take a rest. I’ll send them back alone,” said Valencia with a sad tone.
“No, it’s time to light the place up. I don’t want to see those kids suffer.”
“But——” Valencia wanted to say something, but it stopped after looking at the determined eyes of Bahamut. Flying out of the cave, Bahamut hovered around the sky over the towering tree. It opened its mouth to gather crimson flames, which started expanding slowly. Then, Bahamut moved its body and cast the fireball to the bottom.
The fireball had split into countless sparks, like snowflakes gently falling into every corner of the underground world, which sent warmth to this dark and lonely place. The flames had a soothing effect to those creatures in such subterranean place. It could paralyze their senses and let them escape from the reality.
Bahamut was in free fall after casting the flames. Witnessing such situation, Valencia rushed towards the direction to catch its body in the nick of time, and brought it back into the tree cave. Bahamut’s scales kept coming off with its power fading away.
Suddenly, a violent shake was sent from the top of the tree via its trunk. Valencia took a look and found that the ground split with many cracks. Metal pipes were exposed to air; and an ominous vibe was looming ahead.
“They’ve come…” Bahamut said with a hoarse voice, “a huge change will soon arrive. I’m running out of energy. I can’t protect these poor kids anymore. However, a child of destiny shall rise. This person has an epiphany of the world. Please Valencia, go up to the ground and guide this person.”
Accepting this mission, Valencia left the cave, flew through the tree crown along the trunk and arrived at the surface. The entrance, which was supposed to be sealed, had opened again. Living in the darkness for a long time, Valencia was blinded by dazzling sunlight, but it endured the discomfort and went out.
Boom! Something had happened. Valencia rushed towards the direction and saw a magician in cloak protecting an elf and a Machina from a giant beast.
The magician gathered elemental power to conjure heroic spirit and deal with the beast. As soon as Valencia saw this person, it could feel that——this magician must be the child of destiny mentioned by Bahamut!
“I must protect that person!” Valencia went all out to sprint towards the beast——